Thursday, December 08, 2005

A step in the right direction

Leaders of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) opened a two-day extraordinary summit on Wednesday with a Saudi call for moderation and tolerance and a rejection of extremist violence. “Islamic unity would not be reached through bloodshed as claimed by the deviants,” Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz said at the inauguration of the summit.

Only an evolved and mature Islam can help Muslims re-join the rest of the world and allow them to share and contribute to it.

Syed Rashid Husain adds: Speaking at the inaugural session, OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said: “We do not have the luxury of blaming others for our own problems. It is high time we addressed our national and regional problems with courage, sincerity and openness.

This is perhaps the most important statement, and a good indicator of serious intentions. Sadly, not only Islamic states but also many leaders of other countries continue to hide behind the stupid rhetoric of the "external enemy" to cover their failures.

Blaming Israel or the US is not going to solve their backwardness and isolation. Furthermore, the ploy has become so transparent to be embarrassing. If Muslims have been brainwashed this way, surely their leaders must realize that their pretended hate of Israel is not due to religious, territorial, historical reasons, but only to envy: Israel is the living proof of what a country can achieve with a handful of sand, no oil, good people and willingness to work hard while being surrounded by enemies. With all their money, Arab countries have nothing to show but hatred, self-victimization, oppressive regimes, total disregard for human rights, and they can't bear to live with this persistent reminder of what they are not in their midst. Instead of trying to destroy Israel, they should strive to imitate it.

President General Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday urged Muslim leaders to work out a strategy for an Islamic renaissance, recommended mandatory contributions by each member state for a common science and technology fund and asked extremists to shun violence.

It is important that such ideas and initiatives are not hidden behind frivolous discussions on cartoons or piggy banks; and before complaining about discrimination against Muslims, they should ask themselves what are Muslims living abroad doing to integrate in and contribute to their new homelands, instead of demanding rights (rarely - if at all - reciprocated in their home countries) which only increase their isolation.

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